[Jack Hallows discusses whether or not complacency in recent games is holding Liverpool back.
If Jurgen Klopp is ever clear about one thing, it’s that football should be played on a day-by-day basis with no room for thinking too far ahead or being complacent. It’s strange then, that there has perhaps been an air of both those things from both fans and players over the recent weeks.
I spoke about this last week when I talked about Liverpool’s need to continue ‘learning to win’ games after the Bournemouth disaster and it’s something that plagued them to a lesser extent against West Ham too. At Dean Court, the Reds were cruising at 2-0 and then 3-1 up and while at that scoreline you can forgiven for shutting up shop and attacking with less intent, you can’t just switch off and pretend you’ve already won the game.
Against the Cherries, Liverpool’s defence seemed to do exactly that. There wasn’t any intensity or urgency in their actions and you would’ve thought they were playing a game of five a side at training.
This was evident when 1-0 up against West Ham too. Adam Lallana’s early goal saw the Reds loosen the pressure on West Ham which allowed them to get out of their own half and back into the game, eventually taking the lead. While Liverpool’s front line at both Dean Court and Anfield swarmed and interchanged gorgeously to start, there was a real drop in the intensity and drive that saw them labelled ‘relentless’ early in the season. The likes of Roberto Firmino in particular looking disinterested for large parts of the game.
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This is something that really has to be ironed out and fast. Especially in the players but also amongst the fans too. There should always be an air of expectation, but believing we had won the game from the moment Adam Lallana’s half-volley hit the back of the net is daft. It then causes panic to spread when the opposition unsurprisingly get themselves back in the game. “This shouldn’t be happening! Why is this happening?! We’re too good for this!” No.
Football is a game of 90 minutes and for each and every second of those minutes, the players and fans need to be awake and aware that things can change. However, while they can change against us, they can change for us too. If we go behind, we don’t moan. We support and we cheer and get behind the team and help push towards an equaliser and then a winner. A spirited 12th man. In November, Klopp revealed he would drop anyone who thinks anything is won by December, perhaps he needs to start taking himself seriously on that promise.